Four planes make emergency landings in Chile and Peru after bomb threats

1 / 2
A LATAM passenger plane is seen at the international airport in Chile. (Shutterstock photo)
2 / 2
Passengers wait for check-in for their flights at the departures area of Latam airlines inside the international airport in Santiago, Chile, on August 16, 2018. (REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido)
Updated 17 August 2018

Four planes make emergency landings in Chile and Peru after bomb threats

SANTIAGO: Four planes were forced to make emergency landings in Chile and Peru on Thursday because of bomb threats issued to Chile’s civil aviation authority, the authority said in a statement.
Two of the planes were operated by LATAM Airlines and two by Sky, a low-cost Chilean airline, the aviation authority said. Sky also reported that a third plane it operated was prevented from taking off because of a bomb threat.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and the airlines, inspections of three of those five planes found no bombs, and at least one plane was later allowed to resume its flight.
For four of the five flights, Santiago, Chile’s capital, was either the origination or the destination.
The DGAC said that flight Sky 162 had taken off from Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez airport and was headed to the northern city of Antofagasta when it was instructed to return to Santiago.
“In accordance with established protocols, airport security personnel and special operations police proceeded to check the places, passengers and hand and hold baggage, ruling out the presence of any bomb,” the statement said.
Flight LATAM 2369, originating from Lima, the capital of Peru, and heading for Santiago, was forced to land in the southern Peruvian city of Pisco, the DGAC said. Peru’s transport ministry said in a statement that no one had been injured and a team for deactivating explosives has been notified. “Right now the situation is under control,” it said in a statement on Twitter.
Another Sky flight, Sky 524, is understood according to flight schedules to have taken off from the Argentine city of Mendoza. It made an emergency landing in Santiago before proceeding to Rosario in Argentina, the DGAC said.
In addition, Sky said that another of its planes was prevented from taking off from Santiago because of a bomb threat.
In addition, LATAM 800, which according to flight schedules took off from Auckland, New Zealand, performed an emergency landing in its destination of Santiago. That flight was still undergoing security checks, the DGAC added.
LATAM said in a statement that DGAC had advised it of “bomb threats” toward planes “among them some belonging to LATAM,” which resulted in two LATAM planes being diverted.
“The affected passengers will be transferred by LATAM onto other flights,” it said. “The authorities have not at this moment found any evidence that might put passengers at risk.”
Chilean police did not respond to a request for comment.


China gives Hong Kong leader ‘unwavering support’

Updated 16 December 2019

China gives Hong Kong leader ‘unwavering support’

  • The city’s leader is in Beijing for an annual visit, and is set to meet President Xi Jinping later Monday
  • The past month had seen a lull in the violence and vandalism in the city, after pro-democracy parties won a landslide in local council elections

BEIJING: China’s premier told beleaguered Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday that she had Beijing’s “unwavering support” after a huge rally earlier this month and her government’s thrashing at recent local elections.

The city has been upended by six months of massive pro-democracy protests that have seen violent battles between police and hardcore demonstrators, as well as regular transport disruption.

Protesters have called for the unpopular Lam to stand down as leader, but Li Keqiang said Beijing would give “unwavering support” to her government to maintain the “long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.”

“The central government fully recognizes the efforts you and the SAR (special administrative region) government have paid,” said Li, at a meeting with Lam in the Hong Kong Hall of the imposing Great Hall of People in Beijing.

He said Lam’s government had “tried its best to maintain social stability” amid “an unprecedentedly severe and complicated situation.”

But he also called for the Hong Kong government to “step up studies of the deep-seated conflicts and problems that hinder Hong Kong’s economic and social development” in order to restore calm to the city.

“Hong Kong is yet to get out of its plight. The SAR government must continue its hard work, stop violence and subdue chaos according to laws and restore order,” Li told Lam.

The city’s leader is in Beijing for an annual visit, and is set to meet President Xi Jinping later Monday.

At the meeting with Li, she said she was grateful for the premier’s “care for Hong Kong.”

The semi-autonomous city is ruled under the “one country, two systems” principle, which gives the territory rights unseen on mainland China — rights protesters say are steadily being eroded.

The past month had seen a lull in the violence and vandalism in the city, after pro-democracy parties won a landslide in local council elections.

A week ago, around 800,000 people marched peacefully through the city’s streets, urging the government to respond to their five demands — which include an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for those arrested, and fully free elections.

But public anger remains as Beijing and Lam show no sign of giving further concessions despite the election success.

This weekend the relative calm was broken by clashes between black-clad pro-democracy protesters and Hong Kong police in some of the city’s shopping malls.

And earlier this week an international panel of experts hired to advise Hong Kong on the police response to protests announced they were quitting, saying the watchdog was not fit for purpose “in a society that values freedoms and rights.”